A little bit before 2am I awoke as Heath exited the highway and frantically looked for a gas station with an open lobby. She found one and rushed in to use the bathroom. I got myself woken up and took over the wheel. I got a peppermint and took over her giant diet coke and we were off. Heath was tired and joined the sleeping kids in no time. I got the great section of the drive and it got better and better as we got closer to the national park. I listened to several episodes of this American life and time flew. Unfortunately we were still on our way when dawn came and I just shot the camera out the window a few times.
Shortly later we were on the island with the park and I knew right away this park was going to very memorable. There were awesome views everywhere.
I had no map and poor cell service so followed signed as best I could and mostly just looked around and let the fam sleep. There were several cars doing the same and a few bikes paddling around and this guy getting some breakfast.
Just after 7am I found a visitor center that would open at 8.
I parked in the shade rolled down the windows, got a few things and grabbed a spot on the curb beside the van. I fired up the camp stove and made breakfast. The parking lot was pretty deserted when I fired up the stove but more and more people showed up. I didn’t know it at the time but Acadia is a pretty small park but has the second most visitors of any National Park. A few people smiled and commented on my breakfast.
At 8 I was done with coffee and oatmeal and my dishes had cooled off. I packed them away and Heath was starting to stir. I told her I was going to the visitor center and I got a map, jr ranger book and program guide. I sat on the curb and made a plan for the day and then off we went. Heath woke up and we checked out some overlooks on our drive.
The opening and closing of doors and the sunlight got the kids up and we found a good spot to pull over and get shoes on the kids and did some exploring around.
Then they got some granola bars and stuff and we drove to the top of Cadillac Mountain.
We were in a little hurry for a ranger program but got to explore around some and check out the weird flat rock summit.
Then we headed back to the car and rushed to the Sier de Monts Spring Nature Center. We got there in time to use the bathroom and put Pumpkin in her pack and join the ranger program.
There was about 15 other kids with families there for the program plus 40 something rowdy summer camp kids. We nearly bailed but Peanut really wanted to stay so we gave it a shot. The ranger was overwhelmed with the crowd but did a good job. The kids got to share magnifying glasses and explore the small side of Acadia.
We hiked around some trails with the group and talked about some nature. We ended up at a small mountain lake.
Pumpkin seemed really tired and I thought she would fall asleep on the hike but she sang and bounced around and had a lot of fun instead of sleeping
We were all kind of starving after the program got over so drove down the road a little way to a shaded picnic area.
We made bagel sandwiches with tuna and easy cheese and had some fruit snacks and granola bars. After lunch we did a little sightseeing and made our way down near the 2:00 ranger shore hike.
We parked along the shore and worked our way through the granite shores and along the ocean trail for about a mile.
It was really fun and cool looking.
We spent some time at one of the most popular spots in the park called Thunder Hole.
Unfortunately the tide was at its max height and the cave and waves were not making the thunder sound that gives it the name.
We were really for a break and a bit early for the program so took a little break in the woods.
Then we headed to the meeting spot and gathered with the other hikers and ranger. We talked a bit then went down to the trail and hiked along the shore with the ranger.
He told us a lot about the island and the park and pointed out lots of things and answered everyone’s questions. It was a lot of fun but took us a long way away from the van. When the program ended clouds started rolling in and I got afraid it was going to rain. We headed back to the van double speed for about 2 miles. Pumpkin had slept for most of the hike with the ranger and was awake and happy for the hike back. Eventually we got to the van and hopped in and headed to the Blackwood’s Campground. We checked in and headed to our spot.
All the campgrounds at Acadia fill up fast and I didn’t have much of a choice when I booked it online. So we were right in the middle and got one of the last available spots several months ago. We had neighbors on all sides but it was flat and shaded and a quick walk to the bathroom/water/dish washing area. We rushed to get both tents up and rain proof.
Then we got started on dinner. Heath starts to go through some pretty rough withdrawal if she has not had Mexican food in a while so we set about a camp stove Mexican meal. We mixed Spanish rice, can of corn and ½ a can of rotel tomatoes. In another pan we mixed refried beans, caned chicken and the other ½ of the rotel.
We cooked them up good and wrapped up the stuff in tortillas.
Then we dug in.
After dinner we put on pajamas and cleaned up and got ready for bed. It was super early and we needed to kill some time so we set up our camp chairs and lit the fire.
We only gathered a little bit of wood and it was all small and dry so the fire was a good size but burnt up quick. Once it was dying down Pumpkin and I headed to bed. I kept her company in her tent and dozed a bit while Heath and Peanut worked on Ranger badge stuff. Then Peanut took my place and I headed to my bed in the big tent.
I was asleep or ½ asleep for the rest of this so not sure what all went down but I guess I put a few more things in the van to protect them from animals or potential rain then went to bed. I woke up a few times to Heath arguing with the kids on the need to go to bed and be quiet. At some point it started raining and then started really pouring. There was thunder and stuff too and at some point Pumpkin woke up but must have just snuggled with Peanut and gone back to sleep. It got pretty cold out and we ended up pulling a big sleeping bag over us.